Students of Strixhaven EP 14 – The Slaad Showdown

The players discuss their character’s level three abilities:

  • Trix (Arcane Trickster Rogue) gains access to Spellcasting, including three cantrips (Mage Hand, True Strike, Minor Illusion) and three first-level spells (Charm Person, Disguise Self, Featherfall).
  • Khorvus (Oath of the Seas Paladin) gains access through his oath to additional spells (Create or Destroy Water, Expeditious Retreat) as well as Channel Divinity abilities (Marine Layer, Fury of the Tides).
  • Edolkar (Path of Wild Magic Barbarian) gains Magic Awareness, providing the ability to detect concentrated magic within a short distance. Additionally, when entering a Barbarian Rage, Edolkar activates a Wild Surge, granting access to one of eight unique abilities that aid him in combat.
  • Arth (College of Lore Bard) gains proficiency with three skills, and learns Cutting Words, allowing him to expend a use of Bardic Inspiration to subtract a number from an opponent’s roll. His prepared spells now include Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.

Back in-game, the party continue making their way down from the temple, with Arth having packed away the amulet securely in a tightened bag. Travelling through the interior, they stop off briefly to check all the other rooms they missed, finding more housing for beds, showing that the two priest groups lived and worshipped separately. Hofri Ghostforge, having returned with more supplies, asks the party about what they encountered upstairs. Trix fills him in, with Khorvus noting it is “crazy stuff, man”.

Arth leads the party to the Silverquill campus, and speaks again with Professor Brenneth Blackstone. Arth informs the professor on his findings, including his rough translations, and the recovered amulet. Trix informs Professor Blackstone that it appeared to have some influencing effect on people, and could be dangerous. Blackstone sets the bag down, and casts a modified Dispell Magic, which can dull or neutralise enthralling effects. As Blackstone opens the bag, the party see that the green light has subsided. Trix and Khorvus share the information they collected, including scrolls, and sketches of the altars.

The party split up, attending to their classes and extracurriculars, agreeing to meet back at the student dormitory to host an intervention for Darius, to discuss his friendship with Vestan. Arriving before Darius, they prepare chairs and tables in the common room, and welcome him in when he arrives a short time later. They discuss what they know about Vestan being Rodane, the so-called “Quandrix Professor” and that he was responsible for giving Edolkar the blight seeds. Darius expresses concern, asking if they have hard evidence to prove these claims, but the rest of the party don’t have hard evidence. They shift their tactics, and focus on some spells they’ve overhead Vestan discuss as part of the Collective for Strixhaven Development. Trix especially reiterates the potential danger that Simulacrum and Dominate Person could have, questioning why he would want to study them, even just ‘in theory’. Arth indicates the party had listened to one of these meetings before he was invited to come, and focuses on whether they should trust Vestan implicitly, particularly if he were to gain knowledge of these spells. They push him to consider Vestan’s intentions and consider if there is more to him than what is shown. Darius promises to try and monitor Vestan, and will keep his relationship with him at a distance. As they wrap up, Trix asks Darius to consider who else is being invited to this ‘group’, as they might be able to find a common thread between the participants. The party finish up the intervention, with Darius keeping a careful eye on Vestan.

Later in the trimester, the party prepare for their shared class: Magical Physiologies, and an exam on Slaadi. Just prior to exam day, Veralda has told the class to not prepare for a written exam, but to bring their combat equipment with them to the Archway Commons on the central campus. The party host an impromptu study session, considering what they know about Slaadi, including their colour heirachy, and that a Red Slaad, encountered in the wild, has the ability to implant a tadpole via skin contact.

Arriving at the commons, they find Veralda speaking with Professor Rixy, a changeling. Trix speaks with her cousin Athena. The party notice two Quandrix professors standing fairly distanced apart, with some component pouches by their side. The party sees Veralda hand Rixy a potion, who leaves to prepare for something. Arth casts Bardic Inspiration on a few members of the group. Veralda greets the group, and asks if they are prepared for an encounter with a Slaad. Veralda explains that Rixy has graciously agreed to act out as a Slaad, and thanks to a protective spell provided by the Quandrix professors, no mortal harm will be done within the circle while it is cast, though injuries will still hurt. Professor Rixy approaches, and begins to change form, morphing into the size of a large-size creature, with the appearance of a Red Slaad. In a deep, low voice, she says hello to the students, before asking if they are ready to begin. The party roll for initiative.

Out the gate, Trix casts one of her new abilities, True Strike, and magically marks the Slaad as her target, locking in advantage on her first attack against the Slaad next turn. Arth also makes use of a new magical ability, and casts Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. The Slaad fails a Wisdom saving throw, so collapses to the ground, laughing hysterically. The Slaad tries to break their incapacitation, but fails. Khorvus casts Divine Favour, and approaches the collapsed Slaad. His attack fails, missing the mark. Edolkar enters a rage, which activates his new Wild Magic Surge abilities. The Wild Magic imbues into his great sword, granting it light and thrown properties. Edolkar realised he can also throw the sword, and it will return to his hand at the end of his turn. Edolkar lifts the sword above his head, and throws the sword to make an attack. The sword misses the Slaad, hitting the base of a statue nearby. As his turn ends, the sword returns into his hand. Darius lines up an attack with Firebolt, and lands the first successful attack, dealing some damage. As the damage takes hold, the incapacitating effect from Tasha’s Hideous Laughter fades, letting the Slaad stand back up.

Into round two, Trix rushes into the battle and swings at the Slaad with her rapier, landing a powerful blow. Arth follows a similar strategy, but fails to hit. On the Slaad’s turn, they strike at Khorvus. While their bite fails, the claw attack lands and deals him some damage. At the end of the creature’s turn, their ‘regenerative ability’ activates, healing themselves for some damage taken this turn. Khorvus attempts another strike, but fails. Edolkar moves to re-position himself, and throws his sword again towards the Slaad. With a critical, Edolkar’s sword strikes true and pierces the Slaad for some more damage. Darius approaches Khorvus, seeing that his attacks have been failing, and casts Magic Weapon, granting him a boon to his attack and damage rolls for a short time.

Round three, Trix continues her strategy of darting in, striking, then disengaging, landing another strike in the meantime. Arth tries to hit with his rapier, but fails. The Slaad changes targets, and moves towards Edolkar, landing a hit with a bite attack. The Slaad again heals some health thanks to Veralda’s potion. Inspired by both Arth’s encouragement and Darius’ magic, Khorvus moves in and lands a critical hit against the Slaad, dealing damage over a third of the Slaad’s overall health! Edolkar gets another critical, landing even more damage against the Slaad, putting them into a weakened state. Darius steps further away from combat, choosing to maintain his concentration on his cast spell from last round.

Trix flies in, and is able to deal one final blow that knocks the Slaad to the ground. Professor Rixy changes shape again, back to their androgynous humanoid complexion. Veralda approaches, checking on Rixy, and calls to the two professors maintaining the protective circle to bring it down. For those that took damage, the injuries sustained fade quickly, but there is some general fatigue that remains present. Veralda congratulates the party on completing the Slaad challenge, and reminds them that a true Slaad has magical resistance, meaning they should ensure they focus primarily on weapon-based attacks, much like what they just showcased to the class. The party finish up and begin to prepare for their elective class exams.